SEED - Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship and Development

The Chair of Diversity Sociology is actively involved in the TUM SEED Center ("Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship and Development"), among others in the selection committee. The SEED project combines sustainable energies with entrepreneurship to improve access to electricity through "mini-grids" in eight locations in the Global South, while also capturing economic effects. Activities include a doctoral program, a master's program, and a Living Labs component to enable applied research. Initially, this project is expected to provide access to electricity for approximately 8,000 people. As the project progresses, this number is expected to increase and reach poorest populations in remote areas.

TUM SEED Homepage

Cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Dis[cover]ability & Indicators for Inclusion


Against the background of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which was ratified by Germany in 2009, the Fellow Group investigates the theoretical conception as well as the empirical and analytical foundation underlying expectations of an inclusive society. The Fellow Group thus follows a twin-track approach: on the one hand, with reference to so-called “disability mainstreaming”, it examines the social and material barriers which persons with disabilities are confronted with (e.g. inadequate access to public spaces, communication barriers, prejudices and ableist attitudes). Upon this basis, the researchers aim to identify room to maneouvre and access paths that could pry open the currently segregating and/or exclusionary institutions encountered by individuals faced with impairments or disabilities. On the other hand, inspired by the concept of empowerment, the group’s focus is on the specific requirements entailed by living with impairments and/or disabilities and the design of adequate support within social services, health provision, education and livelihood, not to mention multiple opportunities for political and sociocultural participation. The common denominator pertaining to both research priorities – i.e. the analysis of societal context factors as well as the life situations of individual actors – is the programmatic “Discover Abilities” motto used to counter the prevalent “deficit” perspective on impairment/disability and to develop indicators for a self-determined implementation of participation.

To the Dis[cover]ability & Indicators for Inclusion Section’s Homepage at the Max Planck Institute

Cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Inclusion and Disability Section


The aim of the research team is to generate knowledge about the transformation of social systems as well as about participation and disability. Its research programme particularly focuses on the structures, measures and effects of prevention, rehabilitation and health development in a national and international perspective. Inclusion, exclusion and disability, the effects of the transition from the principle of benefits in kind to the principle of benefits in cash through the personal budget, the new framework and the new roles in social services, the potential and limits of national and international social models as well as the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are just some of the main themes investigated by the team. These themes are usually coupled with cross-cutting issues such as “demographic change” and “interaction with difference”. 

The Sociology of Diversity Unit cooperates with Pwani University, Kenya

In future, the Sociology of Diversity Unit headed by Prof. Elisabeth Wacker will cooperate with Pwani University (PU) in Kenya. Over the course of the next four years, a common curriculum to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities will be developed and tested. The project is sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Altogether, the project budget amounts to approximately €400,000, including both partners’ contributions. “PU is a young university, that does not yet have the reputation enjoyed by the Technical University of Munich, but it has great potential”, says Prof. Wacker.

Altogether, the project budget amounts to approximately €400,000, including both partners’ contributions.

Academic Exchange

As an initial project, the Sociology of Diversity Chair together with PU researchers, will be designing and testing a novel curriculum. “It is a health education project. We want to develop resources in social spaces that foster preventive and rehabilitative health promotion. This is why we are developing a curriculum in order to generate a multiplication effect on an academic level”, Wacker explains. The curriculum should be designed as a blended-learning concept, i.e. a combination of internet-based content and presence training involving a total of four modules. These will then be tested by Kenyan and German students during collaborative workshops. Subsequently, the English-language curriculum concept will be available online. “Our aim is to convey a broad knowledge of inclusive health promotion that is tailored to the given social space”, Wacker concludes.

In the context of the partnership with the Kenyan University, further projects will be developed in the field of inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities. These will be adapted to the respective socio-cultural and structural conditions.

Homepage of the Sociology of Diversity Chair

Homepage of Pwani University

More about the research station in Malindi